Friday, June 15, 2012

Spicy Dahl Recipe

To put theory to practice, here's my straightforward and delicious recipe for dahl.  It features red lentils, a small quick-cooking legume that softens and forms a thick stew-like mixture when combined with vegetables and spices.  Red lentils are a rich source of protein, fibre, B vitamins such as folate and thiamin, and minerals such as iron, molybdenum, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and copper.  When combined with a grain such as quinoa or rice, this combination forms a complete protein source.

This recipe also features turmeric (Curcuma longa), a relative of ginger that is widely recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties.  

Turmeric in three forms: the whole root, ground, and powdered

Turmeric is associated with a myriad of health benefits, including protection against liver damage, anti-cancer effects, and reduction of inflammation in arthritis.  Dr Andrew Weil, MD, founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, is a proponent of using turmeric abundantly in cooking.  He also points out the research showing that turmeric is much better absorbed when combined with black pepper.  For the recipe below, at least 1-2 tsp of turmeric and 1-2 tsp of freshly ground pepper is recommended.  The rest of the spices can be added to taste.  Enjoy!

Scarlett's Spicy Dahl

Bring to a boil 1 cup red lentils and 3 cups water, then reduce heat to simmer.  Stir occasionally – they’ll thicken up as they cook.
In a separate pot, bring to a boil 1 cup quinoa and 2 ½ cups water, then reduce heat to simmer.

In a frying pan, sauté a variety of vegetables in olive oil or coconut oil: Onions, red pepper, green pepper, leeks (the green and white parts!), zucchini, green peas, celery, garlic
Then add spices to taste:
Turmeric (1-2 tsp)
Chili pepper flakes
Cumin (ground and whole seeds)
Pepper (1-2 tsp; freshly ground is best)

Once the lentils have thickened up, add the veggies to the lentils and see how it tastes.  At this point, you can definitely add more spices – I also like to add a little more olive oil at the end for more flavour.
Serve dahl over a bed of quinoa (or rice!)



  1. The turmeric may be healthy the cumin is absolutely essential for the taste.

    1. I agree, cumin is one of my favourite spices! While turmeric is medicinal and colourful - it turns everything bright yellow - cumin is medicinal and tasteful! Isn't it great when things that taste good are also good for us?

      Cumin seeds are well known for their carminative effect, as they soothe the digestive tract and help alleviate discomfort and gas production. They have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-spasm actions within the digestive system. And they taste great too!